Thursday, August 21, 2014

1985: The Best

The last post of this series, the top ten for 1985.  It's been a fun ride that took a little over two years to complete.  Hope all enjoyed it.

10. Return of the Living Dead

Terrific zombie movie with a clever plot revolving around the original Night of the Living Dead turning out to be based in truth and a chemical spill which wakes the dead.  Dan O'Bannon made one hell of a movie here with a fun cast, some great gore and load of laughs.  It's a real classic, plus you get Linnea Quigley nude... Which is nice to have if you can get it.

9. Mask

Very moving, well acted drama about a young man with a heavily disfigured face and his fight to just live a normal life.  Eric Stoltz is very good as the kid, as is Cher as his mother.  The film is based on a true story and Peter Bogdanovich directs things with a nice, laid back skill that simply lets the characters exist.  Just a really good film.

8. Real Genius

I really love this fun college comedy about a bunch of uber smart kids engaging in the usual 80's comedy stuff, only with a wining Val Kilmer performance and William Atherton as a jerky professor.  The overall plot revolves around the building of a chemical laser but that sort of gets shoved aside in favor of some really funny scenes and performances.  Real Genius is a fantastic comedy.

7. Rambo: First Blood Part II

Set aside the politics and the second Rambo movie is just one hell of a run ride.  Stallone's second run with the character is a perfect brainless summer action movie with tons of action, some cheese and a fun Steven Berkoff performance as the bad guy.  This is pretty much the only possible year this movie would have made the top ten.  1985 was pure 80's in general, and so is this movie.

6. Fletch

Great comedy mystery based on the novel of the same name by Gregory McDonald.  Chevy Chase plays the title character, a smartass investigative journalist with a taste for disguises who stumbles upon a drug dealing police chief in cahoots with a rich jerk trying to make a killing.  Chevy is funny as hell in this, lots of laughs and overall just a solid, fun movie.

5. Lifeforce

Any other year, this would probably be on the guilty pleasures list but Lifeforce is so awesomely over the top that it deserves a spot on the top ten.  Tobe Hooper directs this fantastic movie about nude space vampires and a zombie outbreak that is endearingly overblown with great f/x and fun acting from Steve Railsback, Patrick Stewart and the rest of the cast.  It's quite good, provided you like over the top B movies.

4. Fright Night

Great vampire movie with William Ragsdale as a young man who becomes convinced his neighbor is a vampire.  Chris Sarandon is terrific as the ghoul and Roddy McDowall as a TV horror host who helps Ragsdale.  Good acting, some terrific f/x and an awesome finale help make this one of the best horror films of the year.

3. Commando

Arnold Schwarzenegger is at his best here in this nonstop, cheesy action classic.  Arnold is a former Special Ops expert who is basically a one man army, especially when his daughter is kidnapped.  Aided by the cute Rae Dawn Chong, he embarks on an absolute slaughter of every bad guy he finds including Bill Duke, Dan Hedaya and Vernon Wells as the most over the top bad guy Arnold has ever faced.  Tons of action, tons of laughs, classic Arnold all the way!

2. Re-Animator

The best horror film of the year is Stuart Gordon's gory adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story.  Jeffrey Combs is fantastic as the mad scientist, as is David Gale as his nemesis and the special effects are wonderfully hideous.  The humor also works with lots of deadpan lines from Combs and the rest of the cast.  It's a real classic.

1. Back to the Future

Robert Zemeckis really hit the jackpot with this fantastic comedy.  The story is fairly well known: Michael J. Fox uses mad scientist friend Christopher Lloyd's time machine to travel back thirty years and ends up having to make sure his parents fall in love.  Fox and Lloyd are fantastic, as are Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson as Fox's parents.  Thomas F. Wilson is also classically funny as Biff.  Back to the Future is the best movie of 1985: It's funny, smart and chock full of great moments.  It doesn't get much better than this.

1985 wasn't the best year, but it certainly was one of the most enjoyable.


  1. Outstanding list for Best of 1985. I literally saw every one of these in the theater or on vhs shortly after release back in the 80s. A few notes...

    LifeForce. One of my favorite scifi/horror films growing up. Great cast. Convincing/original SFX. Superb soundtrack. Pretty epic scope for a movie that is considered a B movie at best. A fun romp and you should seek out a copy of the original novel that this was based upon if you have not already.

    Re-Animator is one of my favorite horror films. Period. Great and outlandish movie and also a very unique score. Jeffrey Combs is perfect.

    Rambo II - action classic.I remember this being such a huge hit both in the theater and in home rental shops! Iconic image of him holding the RPG...

    Commando. Loved this one too. I always laughed at Rae Dawn Chong flying backwards while shooting the square bazooka.

    And finally - Real Genius. One of my favorite movies of the 80s. This is right up there with Weird Science as one of my favorite comedies of the era. Kilmer and the nerdy kid were great together. Good stuff.

    Keep up the great work on your many great titles, esp from the 80s years!


About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.